I did find inspiration for this recipe in one of the many Italian cookbooks (cooking encyclopedia, more like it) which I stole from my mum’s house last time I went home. They are full of interesting ideas and I like having a look at them as they remind me of Italy, with its vibrant food scene and great variety of vegetables, fruit, meat and fish. I have to say it would be impossible for me to recreate most of the recipes in there, mostly because I can’t find the necessary ingredients here in the UK. I did manage, though, to settle down on a couple of substitutes. For instance, I usually use German or British smoked cheese instead of fontina, an Italian cow’s milk cheese with a pungent and intense flavour, and shallots (although not difficult to find in the UK) can be easily substituted with spring onions.
I settled down on this recipe because I happened to have some leftover puff pastry in the freezer (who doesn’t?), but the same parcels can also be made with more conventional shortcrust. If you don’t like salmon, then cheese can be a good substitute or, maybe, why not try chicken?
- 1 x quantity of puff pastry (about 500g)
- 3-4 salmon fillets, deskinned and deboned
- 2 shallots, finely chopped
- 250g chestnut mushrooms, sliced
- Marsala wine
- olive oil
- 1 egg, beaten (to glaze)
- Start by preparing the mushrooms. First of all, drizzle some olive oil in a frying pan, then add the shallots and gently fry for a couple of minutes until softened. Tumble in the mushrooms and cook for another 5 minutes.
- When you see that there is very little liquid left on the bottom of the pan, drizzle some Marsala wine in the pan, then scatter some oregano and thyme. Cook for another 3-4 minutes, until the mushrooms are soft and cooked all the way through, but not mushy. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool completely.
- In another pan, gently fry the salmon in some olive oil on both side until slightly coloured. Turn it frequently and don’t let it catch on the bottom. Remove to a plate and gently flake with a fork until shredded. Leave to cool completely.
- Roll out your puff pastry to a big sheet on a slightly floured working surface. Using a knife, cut about 8-10 squares, ensuring half of them are slightly bigger.
- Take one of the smaller squares and pile some mushrooms on top, then add some of the salmon. Try not to overfill these or the pastry will collapse. Lightly wet the edge with some water, then cover with one of the bigger squares and press the edges to seal. Brush with some egg wash, then place on a prepared baking tray. repeat until you have used all of the filling and the pastry.
- Bake the parcels at 200 degrees Celsius for about 20 minutes, by which time they will have puffed up and will be nice and golden. Remove to a sheet of kitchen paper to drain of the excess oil, then eat wither warm or cold.